During the Christmas holidays I have been away from the Bald Explorer office, but as soon as January is upon us there is much to do. The next three progranmmes for the Community Channel need to be made ready, including a re-edit of the video ‘History You Can Touch’. This was my first foray into long format history videos. I was down in Wiltshire investigating the ancient monuments of our prehistoric forefathers, the burial chambers, long barrows and tombs. These were plundered in the 17th and 18th century by the first of the gentlemen antiquarians and pioneering archaeologists. I have decided include this as a Bald Explorer production as part of the final three episodes to deliver to the Community Channel along with some additional footage, yet to be shot, to show what inspired the series format. It will also be nice to see this footage get an airing on British TV.
The canal episode is nearly computer. What is taking so long is the computer graphics element. It is a skill that I enjoy but am least proficient at and takes much long therefore to complete. I want to be able to convey an artists impression of how the complete length of the now abandoned canal might have once looked and highlight some of the original and historically important iconic landmarks along the way.
2013 is looking like a promising year for the Bald Explorer. I aim to produce more episodes and a number of series ideas have been planned. Keep checking back to the website where all the information will be updated regularly. In the meantime, I would like to wish all my viewers and blog post readers a very Happy New Year.
Richard Vobes is the Bald Explorer seeking out Britain’s fabulous heritage. In this episode for the Community Channel, to air hopefully in January, he is exploring a lost canal that the Shrewsbury and Newport Canal Trust are eager to see back in water.
Thomas Telford was involved towards the end of the construction and Richard is off to explore the area where the old tub boats used to run to provide coal for the iron furnaces at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
There is a stretch of the abandoned canal that is sill in water, although landlocked and so impossible at present to get a narrow boat on it, Richard has special permission to launch a coracle on it.
I thought I would share some of the photographs that my assistant cameraman has been taking behind the scenes while we have been on location in Shropshire following the story of the Abandoned Canal for an episode of the Bald Explorer. The above is a little hand held interview with Kevin Walker from the Canal and River Trust at Audlem. The team are out in the cold winter weather replacing lock gates, sills and carrying out general maintenance on the 200 hundred year old Shropshire Union Canal. I wanted to find out how often this procedure took place and what was involved.
Karen Bayley has just moved from a large modern flat to a narrow boat on the canal in central Birmingham. She is a single lady and I wanted to find out how she coped with all the changes that faced her with this new life on the water. Karen also related to me the story of her first 30 mile journey on the canal and how her eighty year old father managed to fall in twice.
The oldest surviving cast iron canal aqueduct is at Longdon-on-Tern on the abandoned Shrewsbury to Newport navigation that the S&N Canal Trust are planning to restore. James Boffey is the farmer whose land it sits upon and he told me about the privilege it is to have this ancient monument on his farm and the interest it creates from canal enthusiasts.
The ever busy and energetic Chairman of the Shrewsbury and Newport Canal Trust is Bernie Jones. He was forever making calls and organising permission for us to film on the various privately owned areas along the old navigation. Without Bernie’s cooperation this episode couldn’t have been made. He has not only smoothed the path with officialdom, but also ferried Jimmy and I about from pillar to post to ensure we got the best shots.
There will be more photos and behind the scenes information as the project continues. In the meantime, if you have enjoyed the preview videos and posts on this project, do let us know in the comments area below. We would love to hear from you.
I have put together a quick edit from some of the material shot last week for the next Bald Explorer episode. I am calling it An Abandoned Canal as it traces the history of the Shrewsbury to Newport Canal. The film will tell a brief story of English canals and why they were left unused for many years in the mid part of the 20th century. I am also interested in the restoration project that is happening to this unique navigation by the Shrewsbury and Newport Canal Trust.
I hope you enjoy the preview. The main feature will be ready in January.